Mehmet Oz says he wouldn’t talk to patients the way his campaign talked about Fetterman’s health.




CNN

Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz tried again to distance himself from the mocking tone his campaign has taken over his Democratic opponent John Fetterman’s recovery from a near-fatal stroke, telling NBC in an interview Friday that he wouldn’t talk to his patients the way he would. campaign talked about the Democratic Senate candidate.

Oz has tried to walk a fine line between being a TV doctor who wants to be compassionate to people dealing with health problems and being the Republican candidate at a time when campaigns are mimicking former President Donald Trump’s no-holds-barred approach to politics.

Pennsylvania’s Senate race is one of the most watched in the country, representing Democrats’ best chance to flip the Senate seat in November. Polls show a tighter race, closing the poll gap that Oz Fetterman opened over the summer. A CNN Poll of Polls average now shows Fetterman with the support of 50% of likely voters, compared to Oz’s 45%.

Although Oz has personally expressed empathy for Fetterman’s May stroke and months-long recovery, a campaign aide said in August that Fetterman might not have had a stroke “if he had ever eaten a vegetable in his life,” suggesting another aide defended that statement. Fetterman couldn’t last more than 10 minutes and, in an effort to cajole Fetterman into agreeing to a debate, the Oz campaign offered to “pay for the additional doctors he had to wait.”

Asked directly if Oz would talk to his patients the way his campaign talked about Fetterman, the Republican said bluntly, “No.”

It’s not the first time Oz has tried to distance himself from the people he pays to get his message out to the public, even without saying those people might not speak for him.

“I can only speak to what I’m saying,” Oz said in a radio interview in late August.

“I have tremendous compassion for what John Fetterman is going through,” Oz told Dasha Burns in the NBC interview. “Not only do I, as a doctor, appreciate the challenge, but I know this particular ailment because it’s my specialty.”

Before running for the Senate or hosting a nationally syndicated television show, Oz was regarded as a talented and driven cardiothoracic surgeon who usually treated people with strokes.

Oz said he “accepted responsibility” for the way his campaign spoke about Fetterman’s health and has addressed “issues as they arise.”

“But it has its own set of problems,” Oz said. “We should be having a discussion by now.”

Oz has focused his criticism of Fetterman’s health on transparency, urging the Democrat to release more medical information.

“When people ask me questions about their health, and they ask me often, you know what I say, Dasha? I have no idea,” said Oz.

Fetterman has so far refused to release more than a letter from his doctor in June certifying that he was fit enough to run for Senate.

“I would say that if something were to change, I would absolutely update it,” Fetterman said this week. “In addition to the progress I’ve made, it’s obvious.”

Fetterman spent two months out of the campaign after suffering a stroke in May. When he returned, his speech was halting at times and he often got his words mixed up, something the Democrat himself admitted. Fetterman’s speech, however, has improved in recent months and his campaign calendar has picked up. As he has done since getting back on the campaign trail, the candidate continues to use subtitles in interviews.

Oz and Fetterman have agreed to a debate in the key Senate race: an Oct. 25 meeting hosted by Nexstar Television.